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Anime-influenced animation, or American anime,[1][2] refers to non-Japanese works of animation that are similar to or inspired by anime.

Although outside Japan, anime is specifically used to mean animation from Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes,[3][4] there is a debate over whether the culturally abstract approach to the word's meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan.[5][6][7] While some Westerners strictly view anime as a Japanese animation product,[4] some scholars suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese may be related to a new form of orientalism.[8]



Generally, the term anime refers to a style of animation originating from Japan. As Japanese anime became increasingly popular, Western animation studios began implementing some visual stylizations typical in anime—such as exaggerated facial expressions and "super deformed" versions of characters. In particular, Batman Beyond[9] displayed some characteristics of anime. Particularly for Batman Beyond, some of its production processes were outsourced to Japan.[9]

United StatesEdit

The Batman (2004–2008) characters.

One of the first noted attempts from American companies on making anime is in The King Kong Show in late 60s and early 70s. This animation was the result of a collaboration between Toei Animation from Japan and Videocraft from America. The result was an animation with an Anime-like visual style and a Japanese Kaiju theme, that incorporated the cartoonish style of the Hanna-Barbera era in American TV animation. Another early example of this might be Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero.[10]

Toei Animation continued this kind of collaborations in the Transformers TV series, which aired in the 80s. While this animation was actually animated by Toei Animation, the series was produced by and for Americans. Transformers truly showed many influences and elements of anime including story, themes and its style that completely resembled Mecha anime. Another example of this is Voltron; an American mecha series that reuses the animation from previously released Toei Japanese anime, creating a new story written by American writers.

This trend continued throughout the 80s with animations like Dungeons and Dragons, again co-produced by Toei Animation. Furthermore, through the 90s, many American shows started to be outsourced to Japanese animators, most notably TMS Entertainment, which animated popular television productions such as X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ThunderCats, Tiny Toon Adventures, DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs and Spider-Man, most of which visually or thematically were not resembling Japanese anime. [11]

During the 90s, some American animations started showing strong influence from anime without having any Japanese artists directly involved in the project. An example of this can be seen in Cartoon Network shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory or the Disney Channel show, Kim Possible.

Some other notable example of this anime-influenced shows are Batman the Animated Series which was actually partially outsourced to Japanese artists, Gargoyles, and more recently Teen Titans[12] and The Batman.

The advent of Japanese anime stylizations appearing in Western animation questioned the established meaning of "anime".[13] The production on The Animatrix began when the Wachowskis visited some of the creators of the anime films that had been strong influences on their work, and decided to collaborate with them.[14]

Avatar: The Last Airbender, and its sequel series The Legend of Korra are other examples of Western anime so heavily influenced by Japanese anime that they started discussions among fans and viewers about what an anime is and whether a non-Japanese animation should be called an anime.[15] Avatar creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino confirmed a particular Japanese anime influence in a magazine interview; that of "Hayao Miyazaki, especially Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke"[16] as well as My Neighbor Totoro.[17] Other studios from which inspiration was drawn include Studio 4°C, Production I.G, Polygon Pictures and Studio Ghibli.[18]

The same strong resemblance can be seen in Voltron: Legendary Defender, a reboot of Voltron franchise, this time completely produced by American artists. Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos, both known for their work on the Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel The Legend of Korra, served as showrunners while fellow crew member Tim Hedrick served as head writer.

These anime-influenced animations have become defined as "anime", in an attempt to classify all Japanese-anime styled works of non-Japanese origin.[13] The web-based series RWBY is produced using an anime art style and has been declared to be anime.[5][19] In addition, the series was released in Japan, under the label of "anime" per the Japanese definition of the term and referenced as an "American-made anime".[20][21] Netflix declared the company's intention to produce anime.[22] In doing so, the company is offering a more accessible channel for distribution to Western markets.[23]

Defining anime as style has been contentious amongst fans, with John Oppliger stating, "The insistence on referring to original American art as "anime" or "manga" robs the work of its cultural identity."[4][24] On the other hand, animations like Avatar: The Last Airbender, its sequel and Voltron: Legendary Defender have opened up more debates on whether these works should be called Anime and whether the culturally abstract approach to the word's meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan.[5][6][7] While some Westerners strictly view anime as a Japanese animation product,[4] some scholars suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese may be related to a new form of orientalism[8] with some fans and critics arguing that the term should be defined as a "style" rather than as a national product, which leaves open the possibility of anime being produced in other countries.[3][6]

Japanese anime has also influenced Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks productions. Glen Keane, the animator for successful Disney films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled, has credited Hayao Miyazaki as a "huge influence" on Disney's animated films ever since The Rescuers Down Under.[25] Pete Docter, director of the popular films Up and Monsters, Inc. as well as a co-creator of other Pixar works, has also described anime, specifically Miyazaki, as an influence on his work.[26] Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois described Miyazaki's flight and pacifist themes as an influence for creating How to Train Your Dragon.

Stitch! is the anime spin-off of Disney's Lilo & Stitch franchise and the successor to Lilo & Stitch: The Series. It debuted in Japan in October 2008. The show features a Japanese girl named Yuna in place of Lilo, and is set on a fictional island in the Ryukyus off the shore of Okinawa instead of Hawaii.

Other regionsEdit

The main characters of the W.I.T.C.H. animated series (2004–2006).

In the 1980s, there were Japanese-European productions such as Ulysses 31, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds and Sherlock Hound.

The Italian animated series Winx Club, one of the most popular and successful shows from Europe, uses a magical girl concept for the main characters, including transformations for each character.[27]

The French-American international co-production W.I.T.C.H., another magical girl series,[28] has been noted as having an anime-influenced visual style.[29] First season director Marc Gordon-Bates cited anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion as design inspiration.[30] The animated series is based on Italian comics of the same name themselves drawn in line with manga conventions, as opposed to the more rounded style traditionally used by publisher and co-producer Disney.[31]

In 2007, the Canadian anime-style animated short Flutter became the first work from a non-Asian nation to win the Open Entries Grand Prize at the Tokyo Anime Awards.[32] Another example of anime-influenced animation can be seen in Wakfu: The Animated Series, a flash animation series based on a video game of the same title.

The producers of the French anime Code Lyoko, one of the most successful works of European anime, explicitly stated in their introductory document that they were: "Influenced by the poetry and the visual impact of Japanese animation, the series proposes a graphic universe that's particularly original and strong."[33]

Ōban Star-Racers is known as one of the European animations that strongly resemble anime. While the majority of the creative directors and writers were French, the production team moved to Tokyo to collaborate with a Japanese production team.[34][35][36]

Animation such as Oban Star-Racers and Code Lyoko, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, are examples over which some critics and fans debate about the term anime and whether it is defined as a "style" rather than as a national product, which leaves open the possibility of anime being produced in other countries.[3][6]

A U.A.E.-Filipino produced TV series called Torkaizer is dubbed as the "Middle East's First Anime Show", and is currently in production,[7] which is currently looking for funding.[37]

In Brazil since the 2000s there have already been countless independent projects for animated series inspired by anime. Projects to adapt popular manga-styled comics like Holy Avenger and Monica Teen have already occurred, but were canceled in the course of time. In May 2016, Nickelodeon opened the series Os Under-Undergrounds.[38]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kime, Chad (1997). "American Anime: Blend or Bastardization?". EX 3.3. Archived from the original on 1 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-29.
  2. ^ Khan, Ridwan (July 2003). "American Anime - Is it Possible?". Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-29.
  3. ^ a b c "Anime". Merriam-Webster. 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Anime News Network Lexicon - Anime". Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Rush, Amanda (July 12, 2013). "FEATURE: Inside Rooster Teeth's "RWBY"". Crunchyroll. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Chris (July 30, 2012). "Can Americans Make Anime?". The Escapist. The Escapist. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Fakhruddin, Mufaddal. "'Torkaizer', Middle East's First Anime Show". IGN. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Ruh 2014, pp. 134–135.
  9. ^ a b "Ms. Answerman: The Internet Question Massacre". Rebecca Bundy, ANN. 2003-10-17. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  10. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia (2nd expanded ed.). Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. p. 313340. ISBN 1-84576-500-1.
  11. ^ Dungeons & Dragons on IMDb
  12. ^ "Why TEEN TITANS Is DC Comics' Most Important (But Undervalued) Franchise". Nerdist. August 30, 2016. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "What is anime?". ANN. 2002-07-26. Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  14. ^ "What is Animatrix?" feature on The Matrix Revisited DVD.
  15. ^ "Avatar: The Last Airbender Article". Animation World Magazine. 2005-02-18. Archived from the original on 17 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
  16. ^ ""In Their Elements." (September 2006) Nick Mag Presents, p. 6".
  17. ^ Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (2006-09-19). Book 1: Water, Box Set (DVD).
  18. ^ "Anime Insider: December 2006". Retrieved 2007-03-20.
  19. ^ Lazar, Shira (August 7, 2013). "Roosterteeth Adds Anime RWBY To YouTube Slate (WATCH)". Huffingtonpost. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "海外3DCGアニメ『RWBY』吹き替え版BD・DVD販売決定! コミケで発表". KAI-YOU. 2014-08-16. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  21. ^ Castillo, Michelle (2014-08-15). "American-Made Anime From Rooster Teeth Gets Licensed In Japan". AdWeek. AdWeek. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  22. ^ Schley, Matt. "Netflix May Produce Anime". OtakuUSA. OtakuUSA. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  23. ^ Barder, Ollie. "Netflix Is Interested In Producing Its Own Anime". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  24. ^ "How should the word Anime be defined?". AnimeNation. May 15, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
  25. ^ Michael J. Lee (October 24, 2010), AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GLEN KEANE,
  26. ^ Interview with Up Director Peter Docter. By Beth Accomando. KPBS. Published May 29, 2009.
  27. ^ Anders, Ella (February 13, 2016). "Winx Club to Receive Live-Action Film". BSC Kids. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  28. ^ Bellerby, Grace (August 15, 2012). The History of Magical Girl Anime: Sparkles Without Cullens (Speech). Amecon 2012. Keele University: SlideShare. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  29. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (6 February 2005). "FOR YOUNG VIEWERS; Growing Up Galactic". Retrieved 25 March 2018 – via
  30. ^ "Animators' Hall of Fame". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  31. ^ "Disney's journey to the teen heart". Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Shia wins top prize". Regina Leader-Post. 24 March 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  33. ^ "Promotional document for Garage Kids" (PDF). (798 KB) Page 2, paragraph 2
  34. ^ "Aaron McGruder - The Boondocks Interview". Troy Rogers. UnderGroundOnline. Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007. We looked at Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop to make this work for black comedy and it would be a remarkable thing.
  35. ^ "Ten Minutes with "Megas XLR"". October 13, 2004.
  36. ^ "STW company background summary". Archived from the original on 2007-08-13.
  37. ^ Green, Scott (2013-12-26). "VIDEO: An Updated Look at "Middle East's First Anime"". Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  38. ^ Entrevista especial - Os Under-Undergrounds!